I recently read Lifting As We Climb by Will Smith, in the plain and straightforward style of the Master. The book says to the novice, "Yes, you can give Bible Studies," and helps to build a firm foundation for their labors. To the seasoned veteran it is a gentle reminder to labor "in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God."
Elder Randy Howard, Director of Way of Life Ministries and Retired Literature Evangelist for the Allegheny East Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
I attended Pastor Smith’s soul winning class back in early 1990s when I was a member of the Breath of Life SDA Church in Fort Washington, MD and he was one of the ministers. It was a very meaningful and spiritual experience for me as well as to the others that attended his class. That was the first time I begin to understand the meaning of having a passion for souls because he stressed the need to visualize the soul taking their stand and being baptized into the remnant church. I have always had a desire to share my faith with others since becoming a member of the Adventist church in 1983, but what I came to realize after taking Pastor Smith’s class was there must be a systematic approach to witnessing in order to be effective. Yes, you must have a love for sharing the message but there must also be order in ministry as well. As you study with the student there must be a call for decision making after every Bible study lesson, a decision to accept the truth the student learned today. The joy that one receives when the student decides to be baptized is only exceeded by joy one feels the day the student is actually baptized, a feeling that I wish every Christian would be able to experience. It‘s a joy unlike any you can ever experience, and the friendships that are formed as you open God’s Word week after week with the students will last for eternity.
Pastor Will Smith trained a group of us on how to give effective Bible Studies. The
sessions he conducted at the Lanham Bowie Church, now Restoration Praise Center
(RPC), were about helping others to know Christ. I especially like the Bible study
lessons that Pastor Smith created. These Bible studies don’t have the pictures but it is
clearer and more to the point. We have used three different types of Bible studies; I prefer
the ones written by Pastor Smith.
During the training, we were given specific details even down to the way we should dress
when conducting a Bible Studies. One key essential step is praying. Ask God for
guidance. He taught us to be prepared. Study the Bible line upon line, precept upon
precept, here a little, there a little.
Studying the Bible yourself is most crucial. Bible Studies is all parties listening to Christ.
You can not give Bible studies if you have not studied yourself. You must spend time
with Jesus before you can talk to another about Christ. A Bible Study entails giving
testimonies. The Holy Spirit does all the teaching but it must be in the mind in order for
Him to bring it to your remembrance. Many times the Holy Spirit brought a text to my
memory that I would not have otherwise remembered. The Holy Spirit leads the lesson
and influences the person for baptism.
When giving Bible Studies with a partner, one should always be in prayer while the other
is teaching. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Answer all questions that the person receiving Bible
studies ask, even if you have to get a Pastor to answer the question. Answer all
questions. If you don’t know the answer, say I will get back with you. Giving Bible
Studies is a humbling experience.
All the things listed above are what we were taught during our sessions. Depend on God,
answer the questions, and let the Holy Spirit convict and convert. We are merely
instruments used by Christ. Pastor Smith’s soul winning sessions for giving effective
Bible Studies were very beneficial. It gave us the tools to serve. Praise God for him and
the training. For someone just starting to give Bible studies, stay in the Word!
Attending Pastor Smith’s soul winning class was a wonderful experience. The
Great Commission is to go forth and preach the gospel to all the world. For
Nadine and me, we have learned that it is not an easy task, but with the Holy Spirit
leading us we are ever ready for the challenge. The Holy Spirit through Pastor
Smith have taught us the art of soul winning; starting with the fundamentals in the
classroom followed by cultivating hearts while working side-by-side with him in
the vineyard (doing a Bible study). Some things we will never forget is to begin
and end our work with prayer for it is not us but GOD who is reaching out to those
in front of us, travel in pairs, dress appropriately, be on time, study the material
together before going to the field, address the student’s personal concerns or issues
and building rapport before getting into the Bible study, answer all questions based
on Scripture and if a verse eludes (slips your mind) you then present it to them on
your next meeting, never contradict your partner during the study, continue
following-up even after baptism.
Following the Lord’s commission has brought us lots of blessings. We believe it is
more of a blessing to be the teacher than the student and we always try to learn
something from our students because we have found the LORD has a word for us
too during these meetings. We were able to see the Lord work in marvelous ways.
To see the reaction on the faces when the Holy Spirit has made a breakthrough, or
to see individuals make the transition in their lives as we complete each lesson,
most importantly for us is when the Holy Spirit reminds us or allows us to give
answers to difficult questions and when we are discussing the amazement and awe
that we share.
Brian and Nadine
Fort Washington, MD
The soul winning class gave me the structure for giving Bible studies to anyone who wants to know more about Jesus. Each lesson was Bible centered and sought to expose the candidate to biblical and doctrinal truths concerning the Nature of God, The Ministry of Jesus Christ, and work of The Holy Spirit. The goal, to help candidates recognize their need for Jesus Christ, take their stand for Him, join the body of believers through baptism and become members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The most rewarding Bible study that I ever gave was with my sister in-law (Cheryl Jackson, see her testimonial). You see, she was a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist and I was a former Baptist. To add to the intrigue, we were giving a series of Bible studies to a couple where the wife was a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist and the husband was a Jehovah’s Witness. Wow, what an odd assortment. You would think that this would be an impossible situation. How could they agree on anything? This Bible study proved to be a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to tear down the walls that separate us and to unite us in Jesus. We would open each Bible study with prayer and then spend the first 20 minutes of a 30 minute Bible study talking about family, cars (building rapport), and sharing personal testimonies. We engaged the couple by allowing them to read Scripture and asking them, “What does this say about the love of Jesus?” At the end of every lesson the couple was given an opportunity to ask questions and confirm their agreement with scripture.
The biggest challenge of the Bible study was the Millennium. You see Jehovah’s Witness believed
that Christ was to reign on earth during the Millennium, all during which resurrection and judgment takes place, and that the earth would continue on. We studied and learned that the righteous dead and righteous living are taken to heaven and that the wicked dead remain dead during the Millennium (lesson 6 of Pastor Smith’s Bible studies). We examined Revelation 20:2; Jeremiah 4:23-27, and learned that the earth would be desolate and look like a vast wilderness.
Also, that God cleanses the earth by fire and creates a new earth wherein dwells righteousness and sin shall not rise up the second time! II Peter 3:10-13; Nahum 1:9; Isaiah 65:21
Shortly after this lesson which is lesson six, the couple asked about baptism and the husband was
later baptized. Praise God!
Upper Marlboro, MD
My experience in Pastor Smith’s soul winning class was a turning point in my ministry. I
learned the importance of building rapport with people. I still use the technique-if I can
call it that-today when knocking on doors or doing Bible studies. Building rapport taught
me how to meet a person’s needs first, be their friend and love them as a person (Love
the sinner not the sin). Before doing this class, I was very legalistic and rigid. The
Evangelism class showed me how to teach Christ and his love. PERIOD! There was no
need to push laws, and rules, and do's and don'ts down a person’s throat. This only
scared them away from the God I was trying to introduce/lead them to Him.
With young people it is a little easier because as long as they trust you, they will usually
listen. I had a relationship with many of our candidates because we worked with them
already in Pathfinders/Adventurers/Vacation Bible School etc.
My candidate Tia was a Pathfinder. She soaked up all lessons and seemed genuinely
excited about the lessons and learning more about the God’s word. I followed up with
her even after baptism and kept in an eye on her in the early weeks and months. She is
a very sweet young lady around age 10 or 11 at the time. Although I am not a mother, I
felt like a proud Mama on baptism day and was very excited for her, and proud that at
such a young age she was able to accept the truth and strive to live it.
I have worked with Pastor Smith for many years. His desire to win souls for the Lord
and his sincere love for Jesus our Lord and Savior is the fuel that energizes the Bible
instructor in me to move "against all odds" to guide the seeker of a relationship with
Christ and baptism. My most recent experience was with a young boy that wanted Bible
study for baptism. Pastor Smith was instrumental in selecting the best study guide and
at the first meeting with the young boy; he encouraged him to be steadfast in his
decision to take the Bible study. After the Bible studies end, the young boy was
Pastor Smith's "Soul-Winning Class" paid off! I was able to conduct my first full Bible Study class with 4 new students. Using the "Soul Winning Class" valuable techniques of "Questions and Answers" I was, with careful guidance from Pastor Smith's help, able to make crystal clear the Bible Truths these students needed to learn. The final reward was awesome! Three of the 4 students were finally baptized!
The feeling and experience was overwhelming! "Tears of Joy" streamed down my face! The Holy Spirit was truly all over the Church and in the hearts of the congregation! Need I say more! Sign up now for "Soul Winning"! You'll be glad you did!
We were planting a church in the Bowie area (now Restoration Praise Center-RPC) when Pastor
Will Smith came to teach us how to evangelize and how to give Bible studies. I sat in those classes and was amazed at his zeal for lost souls. I wanted his style of witnessing and sharing his faith with others. I began to pray for a yearning for lost souls. By attending the class, prayer, and Bible study, God began to place a burden on my heart for lost souls.
A young man attended our church plant in Bowie and took a stand one Sabbath. I knew him
personally, so I felt comfortable approaching him for Bible study. He was very receptive and eager to begin Bible studies. This was a good start for me. We went through the Bible study series. In the process he decided to get baptized and I was impressed to get re-baptized. Sharing my faith with this young man actually helped to change my life. By sharing my faith, my faith was strengthened.
This young man also became a deacon in the church and began working for the AV (video) team.
He also began to gain a burden for lost souls and constantly invited his roommate to our Bible studies and began to witness to his family. Pastor Smith taught us that it was not enough to get someone baptized, but they must become disciples and witness to others. The Gospel Commission is not only to get people baptized but that they will encounter Jesus and through that encounter share their love for Jesus with others.
There is no greater feeling than to see someone you gave Bible studies to on fire for the Lord
and getting baptized. We were baptized on the same day. What a high day on Zion that was!!!!
I am still involved in giving Bible studies to those who are interested. Thank you, Pastor Smith
for helping to light a fire under me and allowing the Holy Spirit to use you to teach us how to witness to others.
Dr. Naeem , MD
I have known Pastor William Smith for about 13/14 years now. I first learned of his Ministry as
I attended his Great Controversy classes at the Breath of Life SDA Church in Fort
Washington, MD. I enjoyed the well prepared, well informed classes. So when he became one
of the ministers at Community Praise Center (CPC) in Alexandria, VA, and it was announced
he was holding a Bible Instructor's Training Courses, I knew this was an answer to my prayers.
Pastor Will, has a passion for soul saving and he does not place limits on himself and he does not
expect his students to do so either. He reached out to me, and after completing my training, I
was invited to join him in a study, which I lead out on several occasions. I loved it, yes, I was
nervous at times, but I remembered my training and I began to trust the Spirit of God to take
control of the study.
The more I went out on studies the more I began to notice I now had a passion to see others
saved. When I realized, God was using a wretch like me, someone with my sick past, I was
humbled. I knew it was not me at all, but the Spirit of God who was working through me. Glory
God does the work. I simply need to be prepared to be used by him. I have learned that even
though I may not witnessed every soul I've studied with baptized, the seed has been planted and that’s a good feeling. Knowing I have not let an opportunity pass to share Jesus' love with others, as well as my love for Him, priceless.
Pastor Will encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. By sharing his expertise, wisdom
and knowledge of the Word of God, he helped prepare me for this ministry. Immediately placing
me in the field helped me to me know it's not about me. Now I find myself eager to be God's vessel. Oh.... and how sweet it is!
(In the words of Pastor Smith himself)
Thanks o'boy/girl, "Ya did good!"
Pastor Smith, your book is an excellent resource for anyone truly interested in becoming an effective soul winner for Christ. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience and journey with us. Your book was a joy to read, your explanations biblical and easy to follow. Praise the Lord for you and your ministry. I hope to share your book with many. Thanks again!